‘Zero-Hours’ Contract under scrutiny

Business Comments Off on ‘Zero-Hours’ Contract under scrutiny

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development defines a zero-hours contract as an arrangement where someone agrees to be available for work when required without a specific number of hours or times of work. Employers are not required to offer work to employees on these contracts and employees are not obliged to accept any work offered to them from their employer.

The Office for National Statistics figures suggest that approximately 250,000 people in the UK are employed on zero-hours contracts however the Chartered Institute  of Personnel Development believes from research undertaken by the company themselves, that the figure is much higher; perhaps as many as one million workers.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) found that 34 per cent of voluntary sector employers used zero-hours contracts, compared with 24 per cent in the public sector and 17 per cent in the private sector. The CIPD called for a framework of good practice to be drawn up for zero-hours contracts whilst The Unions Unite and Unison have called for the practice to be made illegal. Vince Cable, Business Secretary, has ordered a review of the practice.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of CIPD, said: “Zero-hours contracts, used appropriately, can provide flexibility for employers and employees and can play a positive role in creating more flexible working opportunities, allowing parents of young children, carers, students and others to fit work around their home lives but for others the lack of predictable income and hours could be a distinct disadvantage.”